Researchers find significant benefits in combination therapy for psoriasis

September 4, 2007

Graz, Austria - A new study shows that alefacept combined with phototherapy clears psoriasis more quickly than alefacept alone, Medpagetoday.com reports.

Graz, Austria - A new study shows that alefacept combined with phototherapy clears psoriasis more quickly than alefacept alone, Medpagetoday.com reports.

The study, which appeared in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, was conducted by researchers from the Medical University of Graz. According to their research, patients’ mean Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores were significantly lower on subjects’ irradiated skin than on body areas that were not exposed to narrowband UV light.  

The trial observed 14 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. Each received 7.5 mg intravenous alefacept once a week for 12 weeks. In addition, half of the patient’s body was treated with 311 nm narrowband UV-B phototherapy three times a week.

After 12 weeks, the mean PASI score was 81 percent lower for irradiated skin and 62 percent lower for non-irradiated skin. At week 12, PASI reductions of more than 75 percent were achieved in 12 of 14 irradiated body halves, as compared with six of 14 non-irradiated body areas. Complete remission was achieved in six of 14 irradiated body halves as compared with no complete remissions among non-irradiated areas.

During the 12-week treatment phase, nine subjects reported at least one alefacept-related adverse event, with fatigue being the most common.

Previous studies of alefacept have reported therapeutic effects at four to eight weeks post-therapy, but in this study the benefit was reported within two to three weeks.

The authors note that ceasing irradiation when the psoriasis was completely cleared “led to a slight increase in PASI until the end of the 12-week alefacept regimen.”

The authors conclude that combining alefacept with phototherapy “appears to be a viable approach to the treatment of psoriasis that warrants further study, particularly comparing the two treatments against phototherapy alone.”